Memorial committee focuses on site plan, fundraising
A review of site development details and a look toward future fund-raising efforts were primary items at Friday's meeting of the Rector Veterans Memorial Park committee.
Co-chairman George Barker conducted the meeting, which held at the Rector City Hall.
Attending was Rogers architect John Mack, a native of Rector who has agreed to assist with the site planning and development.
Committee members provided input on the plans for the park, which will be located on Highway 90 near the old city jail property, currently being historically restored and developed as a visitors center.
Among the items discussed in relation to the park plan were location of the centerpiece bronze statue, procurement of a large natural boulder to serve as the statue base, placement of flags honoring the various branches of the military, development of a ceremonial area, landscaping, fencing and parking.
Mack acknowledged the input from the committee members and currently is working on concepts for the park layout. Committee member Paul Frets, another Rector native, also is heavily involved in the park design.
Barker showed the committee several promotional materials he has developed and announced plans to start an organized fund-raising effort for the park. It is anticipated the construction budget will be in the $100,000 range. The committee already has approved purchase of a six-foot bronze statue of a World War II solder in full combat gear. The statue will cost $36,000.
Barker, a retired two-star general, has donated $10,000 to the project and has committed to an additional $30,000 through his personal donations and matching funds from a foundation board on which he serves. Another major donor, giving $5,000, is Rector native Melvin Bridges, who currently lives in California. Bridges' brother Joe was killed in action in Vietnam in 1967.
Special recognition at the memorial park will be given to Rector-area servicemen who died during wartime.
Committee members are making plans to approach potential donors to the project, with recognition on a Founders Wall at the park for those who give at least $1,000.
In addition, commemorative pavers may be purchased to honor those individuals who have served in the armed forces.
Those who want more information may contact the Veterans Memorial Park Association at 409 South Stewart, Rector, AR, 72461, telephone 870-595-3035, or visit the VMPA website at rectorheroes.com
Members of the VMPA committee manned an information booth over the weekend at the Rector School Reunion and the Labor Day Picnic.